Wednesday, March 13, 2024


After a week here, we have an answer to the case of the unrelenting pain Dan has had. It is the once dormant cancer of his spine—industrious cells once again growing, crowding inside the dense bone and stretching, spreading out into the soft tissues surrounding it.

When it IS cancer, it is like we are being lifted from the ground, detached from any root system, left to the whim of the wind like a tumbleweed. Everything begins moving quickly, rolling, flipping, and I feel numb like the dried, brown ball of sticks and leaves. 

As soon as we heard the results of his thoracic and lumbar spine MRIs, I felt that lift—buoyed, outside of my body, disassociated—while I listened intently and still asked questions, trying to understand this rapid change in what had only been 10 weeks. And after the conversation, after Dan and I sat together in silence with occasional thoughts or jokes, after informing some friends and family, the numbing feeling also sank in. 

I walked out into the sun toward the parking garage, gripping my keys as if they were a fiercely solid weight that could hold me down to the ground. I sat inside the hot interior of my car and tested my broken A/C while talking to a friend on the phone. What I remember now was how I carefully focused my breathing as evenly as I could as I talked, letting my throat stay soft and my voice steady. I was going to drive to work and make sure I could have the rest of the week off and then drive home to pick up Raine and bring him back to the hospital to see Dan. I told her we were going to simply explain that the doctors determined the pain was from the cancer in his back and he would need radiation and medicine for it to start to feel better. We don’t know anything more than that for now, so I have to avoid getting ahead of myself.

A tumbleweed’s dead tissue is functional—it is necessary for the plant to degrade gradually and fall apart so its seeds can drop about, deposit themselves, perhaps into a moment of promise that is moisture.

So here is our little family, with Dan getting whisked into more scans, biopsies, radiation treatments and infusions, as we move with him. There will be appointments and a lot of driving back and forth and questions and trying to find answers and changes to how we do things and then changes to how we do things again and what will and won’t be possible at times as we adjust, tumbling along together on a new undetermined path. 

As we roll on, we will be dropping seeds. Hoping our hopes. Thank you to our community near and far …. Please share patches of water. :)

Peace be with you,

No comments:

Post a Comment